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The reason why guests leave: factors that lead to the loss of clients, revenue and reputation

Any restaurant owner knows that to attract a new customer is much more difficult than keep the current customer. However, the low quality of service destroys the loyalty of regular customers. We analyze common reasons why the guests were refused to be served and explore how effective employee management helps to avoid such cases.

Minus 200 guests due to the lack of initiative

There is a real example: the SteadyControl personnel control and management system showed the federal chain of bakeries that poor efficiency of cashiers led to the loss of traffic. So, statistics gathered during one month showed that 200 clients refused the service. The main reason is the lack or no initiative of an employee. The guests were simply left alone with the menu and they could not make their choice and walked away without buying anything. The average bill was 160 rubles. Thus, the business lost the revenue of 32 000 rubles on this process.

The absence of an employee

Communicating with the guests and taking orders are not the only tasks of the line personnel. Sometimes the client comes in and the cashier is busy accepting goods, working with documentation or other processes. On average, a visitor of public catering may wait up to 30 seconds. The example can be the service at the food court: if there is an opportunity to make a purchase elsewhere — the client will prefer this option to a long wait.

It is important not only to inform the employees about the priority of their tasks but to control the compliance with standards. SteadyControl made it possible and very convenient: algorithms recognize the absence of an employee at workplace and inform about "lost" customers.

Lack of initiative of employees

However, being physically present at the location does not guarantee that the guest will make a purchase. The second most common reason for refusing the service is the indifferent employee. It may be difficult for a guest to navigate the menu, especially when it is their first visit. At the same time, according to SteadyControl HoReCa study, about 60% of guests face the lack of initiative.

When you see a confused guest, it is necessary to identify what they need and help in making their choice. Such a scenario should be written down in standards, backed up with certain wording and followed. For example, if a guest is confused — offer help, tell them about available promotions and seasonal specialties. The growth of initiative of each employee in "Sushi Wok", the largest chain of Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisine stores, led to the fact that customers are 80% less likely to leave the store without any purchase.

When you see a confused guest, it is necessary to identify what they need and help to make their choice.

Not being able to work out the stop-list

Just imagine, a guest has studied the menu in detail, makes the choice and receives a refusal in response. And if the guest was not offered some kind of alternative, the absence of certain dish leads the dialogue to a dead end. On average, due to inability to work out the stop-lists, catering business loses up to 15% of traffic.
Even if a guest came to get a specific product, but it is not available — do your best and make sure that they do not leave without any purchase. Let an employee show expertise and offer a replacement based on the customer’s preferences. Croissants are not available — tell the customer that the puffs have been just baked. You may add certain criterion to StreadyControl system, so that the employees have a clear plan, and you will monitor the percentage of compliance.

For example, in one of the largest Russian chains "Kroshka-Kartoshka" comprehensive efforts made on this process led to the fact that cases of lack of potatoes have decreased by 6 times. This allowed us to reduce the number of lost guests from 70 up to 5 per month.
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Refusing the guest because the restaurant is fully booked

You may come across such situation when a guest is refused to be seated in a restaurant and you can see that half of the tables are free there. So, it is quite natural that the guest is confused. A hostess may tell you that some tables are reserved but usually the reason for this is the staff inertia. For example, when the planned number of bills and revenue reaches the target, the employees can afford to refuse service. But such actions reduce the turnover of the table.

An efficient employee will always find a table for a guest and help with navigation in the restaurant. For example, they may tell the guest for how much time the table is reserved for and ask if the time before the reservation suits the guest. According to Khoros, high-quality service in 86% of cases is the main factor that turns a one-time customer into a regular one. Competent work of hostess will make the visitor feel welcomed and convince him to come back to the restaurant again.

SteadyControl system shows how many customers were refused to be served and what the reason was. Managers receive data on efficiency of all employees every day and can individually work with each case.

Employees being late and late opening time

Violations of the work schedule is not an obvious, but a system cause of losses. The work hours of each place depend on its location. For example, bakeries and coffee shops are usually located close to business centers and universities. To attract people during rush hours, the staff needs to come earlier and get everything ready for the opening time. But many line employees especially those involved in chain projects, open their places 10−15 minutes late. As a result, morning traffic and customer loyalty are lost, and a concept with perfect location turns into a loss-making project.

For example, bakeries of a large chain in Voronezh "Robin Sdobin" are located at bus stops. Each location should be opened early in the morning so that the guests will have enough time to buy freshly baked goods. SteadyControl helped to bring to ideal compliance with the opening hours: work discipline increased by 30% and reached its highest level and that played a great role in the increase of revenue by 5−20%.

Sometimes business focuses on strategic goals that require significant investment while simple violations of rules do not allow to reveal the potential of the concept. Improvement of basic processes will influence the revenue and help build stable and customer-focused service.

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